A young, Brazilian-born beauty queen has just made history in her South American nation.
According to Ebony Magazine and various other media sources across the world, Raissa Santana (pictured) has been crowned Miss Brazil 2016. However, Santana, 21, is not just any other beauty pageant winner representing her nation in a contested race for glory.
This past weekend, Santana blazed a major trail by becoming only the second black woman in Brazilian history to win the Miss Brazil Beauty Pageant in the last 30 years. There have only been two black women to win the coveted crown over the past 61 years.
Santana was born in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná. At this year’s Miss Brazil competition, there was a record number of black women competing for the crown. Santana said the following statement after winning her historic honor:
“I’m very emotional. This here is a mixture of great emotions. I didn’t expect to win this title, but I am very happy to have won this title and to represent black beauty and encourage girls who have the dream of having something, to conquer, to be a model, to be a Miss…now I want to encourage these girls and show them that they can.”
Brazil has the highest population of black people in the Western Hemisphere. It has the second-highest black population in the world after the continent of Africa. Blacks are a severely misrepresented demographic in the nation of Brazil. Their contributions to that nation’s history have been largely overlooked.
It’s truly remarkable to see a young black woman like Santana win such a prestigious honor in the field she’s in. Her next journey will be on an international stage. By winning Miss Brazil 2016, Santana automatically qualifies to be a contestant in the Miss Universe beauty competition. We wish her the best!